Intro: After three years of discipleship what came next for the apostles and the disciple of Christ? Do you know that it takes three or more years to wean a child? This also is a picture of spiritual growth. When Samuel was weaned his mother Hannah gave him up to serve in the temple with Eli the priest. So is it fair enough to say that those who have been saved and after growing in knowing Christ, obedient and are being conformed to the likeness of Jesus ought to be doing what Jesus came to do, preaching the good news of the kingdom of heaven. Today we will look into what is God’s business and what is the main thing that God saved us for. I believe this is the appropriate title of this message, a question for us.
“Is Christ on Mission with You?”
“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them”…”Men of Israel listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” … “Therefore, let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he warned them; and pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted the message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” Acts 2:1-4, 22-24, 36-41
In our reading last Wednesday from our Everyday with Jesus Bible in Matthew, we read about the centurion who came to Jesus on behalf of his sick servant. He was commended by Jesus for his faith in the authority of Jesus. Here’s what he said,
“For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” Matt. 8:9
Let me now reword these three action words from this passage that the one in authority has the right to demand as the three “C’s,” Commission, Condition and Completion. Christ did all these.
“COMMISSION: ” The command goes out from who your authority is. Didn’t Jesus give His disciples this command? “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Jesus Himself was commissioned to come down to earth for God’s purpose.
“Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am – it is written about me in the scroll – I have come to do your will, O God.” Heb. 10:5-7
So did Christ come after Adam sinned to fix man’s problem or because God is omniscient who knew beforehand that Adam will sin and has already a planned provision to save man from the penalty of sin? By God’s foreknowledge the Godhead have already chosen before the creation of the world how they will save sinners as they have planned.
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver and gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.” 1 Pet. 1:18-20
After Jesus accomplished His mission who will He send? Is it them or is it us? And what will Christ send us for? For the same reason He was sent for the purpose of Redemption, to seek and to save the lost. He said this to His disciples.
“Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you,” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” John 20:21-23
I have no doubt this is the basis why Catholic priests think they can forgive sins by the authority given to them by Rome. But is this what Jesus meant? Did He give authority to every one of His disciples to forgive the sins of sinners? And if they can, then there is no need to come to Jesus. In our reading the next day, Thursday, we read that Jesus healed a paralytic but before He healed him He said “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven,” after He saw their faith. The faith of the one’s who brought him. Then the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming.” In their thinking they were right because they did not believe in who Jesus was for he was just a man. Here’s what Luke wrote,
“Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier to say, your sins are forgiven, or to say get up and walk? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” Luke 5:21b-24a
So even if we are sent out by our authority, we don’t have the authority to forgive sins but we have the message how sinners can be forgiven of their sins.
“This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:46-49
This is the message that can have the sins of sinners forgiven, by repentance and faith in Jesus’ name. So if you have love ones who are not saved and you are not telling them how their sins can be forgiven, then, it is as though you do not want their sins forgiven. But if you love them you will tell them the good news. Jesus will decide to save them or not but you will not have their blood on your head.
“CONDITION:” There is a condition before we go. We need to come to the one in authority. Again Jesus was under authority and spoke only what was given him.
Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teachings come from God or whether I speak on my own. He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.” John 7:16-18
Here is how Jesus did the work that He was sent for.
“Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name and I will do it.” John 14:10-14
So what is the condition for us before we are sent out by our Lord Jesus Christ?
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
What is this cross that I must take up? The same cross that Jesus had to take. Cross means death and if we are one with Jesus, then we too must die to self.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in this body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal. 2:20
In the same way that Jesus was one with the Father who was in him, we too must be one with Christ for Him to live His life in us. This is a decision and choice we must make daily. This is the condition Christ has set before He will send us to accomplish His purpose. If Christ left heaven and sacrificed Himself for us, why shouldn’t we be willing to give up our lives for Him? Was this a small matter to God and for Christ Jesus? Can you imagine if God did not choose us and if Christ did not die to pay the penalty of our sins, what do we have now and where will we go after we die? What good is living here on earth even if you have all the riches, enjoy all the pleasures and glory if at the end you will spend eternity in hell?
Lastly, the “COMPLETION:” This is the doing. After being commissioned and having accepted the condition then we do the work. If we don’t take action nothing will happen. Did Jesus finish His mission, the task He came to do? The night before He was to go to the cross, this was His prayer to His Father.
“I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” John 17:4-5
At the cross before Jesus gave up His life and after He drank the bitter cup cried.
“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19:20
How are we to complete what we are supposed to do? This is what it means to do.
“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps.” 1 Pet. 2:21
Will we suffer when we follow Christ? For now we are spared from painful persecution. Compared to Christians in the Muslim countries, their life are always in danger of prison, all kinds of suffering and even death. Should we then be surprised if one day the persecution will reach us? Persecution that involves suffering for Christ is the evidence that we belong to Christ for He said, “if they persecuted me they will persecute you also.” We don’t look for it but it will come.
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Rom. 8:17
The question now that we should ask ourselves, is God accomplishing His purpose in saving us? God’s purpose for us in this church is, “to know Christ, to become like Him and to make Him known.” We cannot all be at the same level in our spiritual life at the same time. But we must be in one of these stages in our spiritual growth. And at whatever stage we are in our spiritual growth, God will use us for the glory of His Son. We can be:
Witnesses of what Christ has done in your life.
Teachers of the Word of God.
Declarers and proclaimers of the gospel as evangelists.
Preachers of the gospel through the Word.
Where are you in your spiritual life and what are you doing in God’s plan of redemption? Paul is a good model of having the passion and attitude of Christ.
“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”Acts 20:24
Before the end of Paul’s life as he was waiting to be executed, he wrote,
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Tim. 4:7-8
Christ came with a mission. His mission continues and He is calling each one of us to be on Mission with Him as His co-laborer. It is His work and He will work through us, when we are willing. Are you? And why not?
You may be here today but you have not yet received Christ as your Lord and Savior. Come to Jesus in repentance and by faith receive him into your heart.